Angry Catholics Part II

If any of you remember, I recently ran a blog post discussing the very angry apologetic, egocentric behaviour I have witnessed exhibited by many Catholics I come into contact with on the Internet. Most ( or at least a large percentage ) seemed to be big fans of the vericast and vortex episodes whose style of which revisits ( in my view ) the old Jansenist severe moral theological heresy.

Calling clergy, Christian laity as well as non-Christians names such as ” idiot”, “moron” and “stupid” seems to be a constant theme that runs through their shows and according them this is great and really evangelises people as this morning I awoke to a post by Tim Haines ( the alleged owner of this show vericast ) on my wordpress inbox. He also decided to reiterate his response on his website. Please read his response below and my reply. I would have replied and now created a new post had he of made his comment under the appropriate article in question but he decided he wanted to post it in the “about me” section but because his comment seemed to be out of place there I felt it would be better moved to the article itself. However moving comments was hard for me to do as all I own is an iPad and I am not a very technical person by any means.

“I’m a little confused—though not surprised—by your assessment of Vericast. Vericast is the most balanced brand in Catholic media, bar none. We are angry at things Catholics should be angry over, but are afraid to be angry over. We say things Catholics want to say, but perhaps don’t know how. We do not obsess over issues the way many brands do, and we don’t ignore the hard issues that everyone else in the Church ignores (including at the parish level). We aren’t afraid to tell people the things that “conventional Catholics” shy away from telling them, out of fear of offending people. We speak the Gospel, and we voice the Catholic mind. To take issue with what you hear on Vericast is to take issue with Catholicism, not Vericast. And that isn’t arrogance, it’s the truth.

If you take issue with our style, that’s entirely your choice, and I sincerely respect it. Style is very subjective. I can see people not liking our style, and I don’t care for the style of, say, Catholic Answers (though I like what they do). That doesn’t make it bad, and I realize you aren’t saying that it does. But it seems to me your negative opinion of Vericast is strictly based on your issue with our style, not our message. That’s very unfortunate. You label us as “trads” but we take traditionalists to task all the time. Most of our “hate mail” comes from so-called “trads”! You liken us to Michael Voris, yet you A) Fail to logically exhibit why he and his team are objectively problematic (statements are not arguments) and B) Why they are fundamentally or substantially similar to Vericast. So what you’ve given your readers is a baseless opinion, unsubstantiated by anything but drama and supposition. You’ve effectively underserved your readers, mislead them, and possibly kept them from what may very well have otherwise been a very positive influence for their spiritual and intellectual development as Catholics in an era of the Church where RCIA programs, Religious Education programs, homilists, and “establishment” Catholic news outlets have grown very proficient in lip-service but provide the faithful with absolutely no knowledge of the faith, it’s traditions, its history, its tenets, etc.

The fact is, we’re nothing like CMTV (Voris’ group) and I’m sure they’d say they’re nothing like Vericast. What we have in common is that we aren’t afraid to tell the truth. Is that why you don’t care for us?

You also take issue with my/our use of the words “Stupid” and “Moron”. Again, this is more of a reflection on yourself than it is on Vericast. Christ was far more harsh in his language than we are. He called people “sons of the devil” and that monologue in John 8 was extremely harsh in biblical terms. St. Paul called the Galatians “foolish” and “stupid”. The book of James has words like “ignoramus”. John the Baptist (and St. Paul) called men “villains” which today isn’t such a heavy word, but at the time it was practically vulgar. We call the moronic “Morons” and we call stupid people “Stupid”. Not that they are stupid, or moronic by their nature, but because their intellects are disabled. And when people with disabled intellects are leveraging a product of that intellect against the Church/faith/God, their intellect is entirely operative in exposing the illegitimacy of their rhetoric. Contrary to the—flawed—modern understanding of the term, these are not “ad hominem” attacks. Neither was it an ad hominem attack when John the Baptist called Herod’s wife a “whore” (the actual word that was used in the scripts). So I think the question needs to be asked; which one of us has the flawed understanding of what the Truth is and how it should be spoken?

While we are pouring our own money into our apostolate and struggling to make ends meet, we’re meeting atheists and anti-Catholics (including trads) head-on on the front-lines while you sit at your desk battering the reputations of the few Catholics who are doing the real, hard work. You started your article with “Love is patient”. But Love is not empty of truth, it proceeds from it. And the truth is not patient with that which offends God. Lucifier’s single act of defiance resulted in war being waged against him, without a moment of patience. Yet on earth, too many Catholics who are called to reflect the celestial realm meet defiance of God with inaction, and they reason it away by calling it “patience”. St. Francis was patient, yet he was known as “the hammer of heretics” because his patience did not stifle his boldness.

Last note on something you wrote “Please ignore [Vericast] altogether, its really bad and a spiritual time bomb of destruction” Really? A spiritual time-bomb of destruction? How odd! We have sent people back to confession after years of absence. We have inspired/provoked the reversion of MANY long-lapsed Catholics. We have directly influenced the conversion of at least 2 agnostics (that we’re aware of) and possibly a 3rd as of just this past week. We build up those who feel broken down. We draw protestants and atheists to the show, and they come on a regular basis. The spiritual fruits that result from Vericast are numerous and provide a mountain of evidence that flies in the face of your ridiculous closing assessment. The next time you’re feeling clever at a keyboard and want to write horrible things like “It is am absolute blight upon the church and is doing it much harm.” ask yourself how many souls you have saved. Then ask yourself how many have you misguided by leveraging as fact your completely subjective, limited, uninformed opinion of Vericast. Honestly, you should be genuinely ashamed of yourself. May God forgive you, and may He be with you.

Tim, thank you for your commentary. I have in no way a problem with the “orthodoxy” of doctrine you preach and you would be correct in your assessment that I am more displeased with your emotive style and evangelical approach than anything else which I feel spoils all the good you are trying to do. You put all your money into this vericast project and I think that’s great. I like one style in that it is very youthful in design (your website ) and I think that’s pretty cool, that’s one good style and way of evangelising that I think you got right. All of that said, it is important to be mindful of how we preach a Gospel to a modern era whose understanding of various things such as what is an insult and what isn’t has definitely changed and understood differently in what’s known now as the modern era.

I find it appalling that you refer to scripture to back up your argument for calling people “names” as if such a tactic is ever going to convert a people who are steeped in a very different mindset than that of the Gospels. I think your first pitfall was that John literally called herods wife a “whore” because that’s not in the scripture at all as far as I can see. He does rebuke the Pharisees as a brood of vipers but that’s about it. I could be wrong but I have searched the scriptures back to front and fail to find this verse that you tell me is there and if I am right think its unfortunate you made this blunder.

Now let’s move on to Jesus use of the many terms towards the pharissees. There is no need to qoute many are aware of the harsh rebukes of Jesus but Jesus harsh rebukes are reserved for him alone because as we can clearly see in Matthew 5:22 that we are not to engage in an anger that rebukes our fellow brothers and sisters and call them “fool” as we will be liable to judgment for doing so. As for Pauls use of have word fool, he says “O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?” ( Gal:3:1). St.Pauls use of this term is not used on a continuous constant basis throughout scripture but nevertheless Paul was referring to the Galations behaviour as being rather foolish and was not making judgment upon the person of the galations themselves nor was it said in derogatory sense as the Greek word used ( Anoeton) simply implied them as being unwise and people of poor judgment. Back then that’s how the Galations would have understood it.

Pauls firm rebuke therefore revisits my admittance that sometimes righteous anger and being firm is necessary but that the fathers of the philokalia advise us not to utilize it often as sinners that we are it can lead to the anger that leads to death and we can clearly see this is not a firm theme Paul uses all the time.

Today however the way in which the Gospel is transmitted to a modern society has changed in light of how society understands terms such as fool and moron as well as idiot. The church does this all the time and that was one of Vatican II’s purpose was to better transmit this Gospel message to a modern society. If you go around calling women and men living in sin together whores, fools and stupid you can bet your bottom dollar that they will just walk away. I know that if I had have walked in to church a couple of years ago when I was not a Christian and spoke to a priest about my Buddhist views and he called me a fool or a moron I don’t think I’d be here in they go church today. People view this manner of transmission of the Gospel and use of such words as insulting and it’s not compassionate. If anything Jesus seemed to rebuke those who should have known better in a way only he can. But look how compassionate he is towards the woman at the well who lived in sin with five men and whose current man was not her husband. She is the only one in the Gospel of John to whom Jesus reveals that he is the Christ. This is how we should approach atheists and others at odds with the church. When there is a need to be frank be frank but not insulting and I think your shows and that of Michael voris are doing a lot of damage in a modern society. I would also invite you to pick up St.Alphonus de Ligouris moral theology book as St.John Vianney did who was bitten by this pound the pulpit heresy of Janesism and he became the best confessor in the world and became a saint. I would also like to press just how differently the modern church now transmits the Gospel message and ask you to qoute me one pope in the last 50years or so that called women whores, stupid and morons when preaching to the masses?

My point exactly. You asked me how many people I saved but I can tell you that I have saved nobody only Jesus saves. According to yourself though you seemed to have saved many but nothing could be further from the truth. Whatever goodness Jesus brought out of your imperfect transmission or the Gospel, such credit belongs to The Lord.

God bless

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7 thoughts on “Angry Catholics Part II

  1. Brother, the only appropriate response to my letter to you would have been an apology. Not more drama and negativity. Not more sensational language and heavy sound bites. Not an exhibit of what’s in your head. What’s in your head is irrelevant and immaterial.
    You can find my references to scripture appalling, but you’d be wrong. You can amp up the drama by referring to it as “name calling” if that’s what helps sell your error. You can even have people believe—as you are trying to do—that “name calling” is what Vericast is all about…which is very deceptive and snobbish of you. You can withhold from your readers the many, many, many good things we do, the good message we send out, the near-perfect balance of our rhetoric, our tireless defense of the Magisterium, our relentless outreach to those who are otherwise unreachable by the average Catholic. You can even choose to not disclose our painstaking efforts to “simplify” and contextualize the Faith for average Catholics to understand, all without emptying it of meaning and impact. In short, you can make it all about our style if you want to, even though you’ve built this grand “argument” against our brand by fixating on the minuscule and the insignificant. But is that honest of you? Is it correct? Is it honorable or fair?

    “Today however the way in which the Gospel is transmitted to a modern society has changed in light of how society understands terms such as fool and moron as well as idiot”

    One does not address a lie with a neutralized truth. That is fundamentally erroneous and that belief has hamstrung the collective Church. We neutralize the truth because we ourselves are partially ashamed of it in this hyper-sensitive culture. So we confuse and distort the meaning of “charity” and have let “charity” destroy the Truth. True charity it’s supposed to be in service of the Truth. The truth shapes charity, not the other way around. It seems you see it differently. And that’s fine. But only one of us has something to show for the application of our philosophies. The proof is in the pudding, as they say.

    I believe you are very disingenuous. This isn’t about the truth for you, and it isn’t about the facts. It’s just about being right. The only way to do that is to re-shape the facts (making them non-facts), which is exactly what you’ve done. And that, my brother, is your own problem. God keep you.
    Tim

  2. “The truth shapes charity, not the other way around.”

    May I gently suggest you read a rather recent encyclical that addresses this very subject. In Caritas in Veritate, Pope Benedict rather explicitly writes of “the need to link charity with truth not only in the sequence, pointed out by Saint Paul, of veritas in caritate (Eph 4:15), but also in the inverse and complementary sequence of caritas in veritate. Truth needs to be sought, found and expressed within the “economy” of charity, but charity in its turn needs to be understood, confirmed and practised in the light of truth.” I wouldn’t presume to suggest you are being disingenuous, for that would be inferring I have some type of gnostic knowledge of your motivations, but I do suggest you have an incomplete understanding on which to base your confidence that the Domestic Monk doesn’t have a point.

  3. Donal

    Dear Sir,
    Speaking from personal experience Vericast is possibly the best thing to happen to my faith. I was lazy,ignorant and uncaring about the faith. I needed to be shaken out of the doldrums and that wasn’t going to happen if some one explained the faith to me in a politically correct manner, because I was to set in my ways. since listening to Vericast I have been spending every spare second of my time reading about the faith and have been awoken to the true beauty of the mass. All I am saying is that a sinner will not stop sinning if he does not know it is a sin and are made aware of the payment of sin. So far as calling people names I am pretty sure that it could be colloquial as he is from Brooklyn. e.g. in the irish speaking parts of Ireland people curse every second word because the word isn’t taboo.
    Donal

    • Donal I think its fantastic that out of vericast you got the wheat from it instead of the chaff. And I praise God that he has brought greatness out of what I feel is a very imperfect manner in which to transmit the Gospel. I am not saying that we should water down the faith with political correctness. Vericast has all of those components needed for orthodoxy in a nutshell but it lacks the pastoral balance needed to aid those in coming back to the church. What I am saying is that one can be bold in transmission of the faith but this boldness does not infer an emotive and insulting tone/words in which to do so. The very fact that in the last 50 years our Popes have never used this manner of insults in which to transmit the faith to a secular world ( without watering it down with political correctness ) is the appropriate boldness I wish to emphasise and a model which we should all imitate. Approaching people with aggression gets us nowhere. Take a look at what Saint Peter in his first letter says in a very well known scriptural verse:

      15but in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence;” ( 1Peter:3:15)

      We must be gentle in our approach of explaining the faith. There may be times when being frank is needed and a little firmness should apply ( at least to those who should know better such as dissident theologians ) but it shouldn’t carry with it an insulting, ego driven tone. We can see Catholics adopting the atheist “hitchens” and “dawnkins” critical and emotive tone but with theology instead. Already we can see this sarcastic and insulting language ( whilst some atheists who don’t know The Lord love this insulting tone ) does not attract even atheists and many atheists dislike them for it. Neither does this tone work for Catholic Christians.

      As for the use of language involving Brooklyn and Ireland. My wife is a New Yorker and she is appalled by the use of language used and understands it has nothing to do with colloquial terminology. As for Ireland where I live and grew up, just because Irish people curse in every second word and even take the Lords name in vain quite a lot, does not mean that just because it’s not taboo in their eyes, that it is not taboo in the eyes of The Lord.

      Thank you very much for your very respectful and heartfelt comment. I am moved by your conversion but until vericast shifts its rather insulting style I would invite you to consider other catholic evangelical books and apologists such as Jimmy Akins or the saints themselves in order to learn about the faith. Again its only an invitation, you are free to do whatever you wish but continuing with vericast is something I would advise against.

      There is something I have learned in recent years about studying proper orthodox theology of the catholic faith and that is God resists the proud, even when we are right. We can have all the doctrines right but if we do not have the pastoral balance in which to transmit that Gospel correct, then we become like the stupid man in the Gospel who instead of building his house on the firm rock, built it on sand instead and it all came to ruin.

      God bless
      Stephen

  4. Thank you for the testimony, Donal. 🙂

    TDM – I would, a while ago, have been on the same side as you, telling all the loudmouths to be more diplomatic. But I think we need loudmouths. Sometimes you need one to scream in your ear to wake up, or you’ll miss your bus and be late for school. Except, if you miss this bus, you miss the eternal school, of your raison d’etre. Sadly, not everyone takes the diplomatic approach you and I like and listens to it. Sometimes you need John the Baptist to tell you, straight to your face, you’re wrong. Sometimes you need Nicholas to come slap it out of you. Sometimes a cold bucket of water to the face is all that will wake you up.

    But you do sometimes need to be diplomatic with others. The world’s starving for truth, and if you feed a starving man the 12 course banquet right away to cure him, he will not survive long enough to enjoy it. It can sometimes be if you try to thrust someone a forkful of the truth – that you are a whore, that you are ignorant, that you are an idiot – they can’t handle it. you wouldn’t have been able to handle it as a Buddhist. But now you, like me, and many others, have gradually come to see where we were utterly wrong. And we readily admit we were whores, idiots, ignoramuses, whatever.

    I think, though, to get to that point, both of your methods can work. It just depends on the person.

    So, TDM, God love you. I ask you, as someone I trust is a God-loving Catholic, to make up with Tim. I’ve asked the same of Tim, mind. You’re both grown-up Catholic men. You can admit his method does have a biblical basis and does work – though not for all people – and he can admit your method works and is also biblical, though it doesn’t work with everyone, either.

    God love you both,

    ChesterKhan

    • Thanks for your comment Patrick. But I am not saying don’t open your mouth and be loud about the faith. without having to write about it again please refer to my reply to Donal and also with regards to Nicholas slapping Arius please refer to my first part of angry Catholics on my blog where I explain this further and I am not in any argument or fight with Tim, I only wish to offer a helping hand in a great work he is trying to do but spoiling it with the deliverance in which he dishes it out .

      God bless and thank you for your comment. I would like to try and respond to every comment that comes on board but I have a wife suffering with cancer and two very young children to take care of and I am a busy man. ( note: my wife recently was cured through chemotherapy from her cancer but it seems that it may be back again so I am a busy man at present. So please feel free everyone to comment and I will approve the comment as long as it is charitable, God bless ).

      • God go with her; she (along with many others) are in my and my friend’s prayers.

        I understand your point about sounding like Dawkins and Hitchens. Having been a long-time listener, I can tell you Tim does very little of this. Sure, his style wouldn’t be how I’d approach it. I’d much rather give them enough rope to hang themselves (and offer to cut the noose if they want). But when he does bash people’s heads in, it’s people whose heads and hearts are as hard as Dawkins’s. People who only know how to argue violently.

        Like the Pharisees. Like the Sadducees. Always trying to depose or discredit Jesus were the Pharisees. And it was the Pharisees who received many tongue lashings, not only from Jesus, but also from Peter and Paul. Once, Paul just turned the Pharisees and Sadducees in on each other and let them tear each other apart!

        But he does argue very respectfully, though, with people who respect him (which have been most people thus far).

        Admittedly, why he’s tearing into you all of a sudden is a mystery. Not long ago he told me and some other Catholics to stop bickering in chat over some trivial matter. Why he’s doing it now is a mystery to me. Why you’re misunderstanding him is, also. You would know this if you had seen some of his stuff.

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